Original Leadership and Ministry
The Lord used Chaplain Ray Hoekstra to begin the International Prison Ministry (IPM) in 1972. The Chaplain then directed IPM until he went home to be with the Lord on November 20, 1997, at the age of 84. Upon Chaplain Ray’s “home-going” to Glory, his beloved wife and partner Leola Hoekstra continued to faithfully direct IPM until 2002. For decades Chaplain Ray and his wife, Leola, made thousands of ministry visits into prisons across America and the former Soviet Union. They also distributed free Bibles, Life-Changing testimony books, and Christian study books to prisoners who requested them. Their ministry was supported in prayer and donations by Christians who listened daily to IPM’s national radio broadcast.
Present Leadership and Ongoing Ministry
Pastor Bob Hoekstra (Chaplain Ray Hoekstra’s son) directed IPM from 2002 until the Lord called him home in December, 2011. Dini Hoekstra, Pastor Bob’s wife and ministry partner for over 45 years, was appointed Director of IPM and is carrying on the vision and ministry along with Heidi Hoekstra Ceballos (Bob and Dini’s daughter and Chaplain Ray’s granddaughter) and Heidi’s husband Joe Ceballos who have served together at IPM since 2001. International Prison Ministry continues the extensive distribution of Bibles, testimony books, and biblical literature to prisoners in jails and prisons all across America. IPM also continues to support prison ministry in Russia and India.
More About Chaplain Ray
Chaplain Ray’s inspiration for prison ministry came to him at the age of nineteen. A personal friend of his, Ronald Bayles (who was a three-time loser by the age of eighteen) became a believer in Jesus Christ. Soon after his conversion, Ron hitchhiked more than three-hundred miles from Long Beach to Ione, California. There he spent a weekend with young Ray Hoekstra, who was working on the Frank Ringer Ranch. Ron shared the gospel, along with his testimony of a changed life. Ray Hoekstra became Bayles’ first convert! Both young men immediately began preparations for full-time Christian service.
The following years presented many opportunities of ministry for Ray Hoekstra. Increasingly, he was led to use radio as a primary means for sharing the gospel. He became a notable pioneer in Christian radio ministry, serving three terms as President of the Southwest Chapter of the National Religious Broadcasters.